It wasn’t exactly a tale of two different Canucks teams on Monday and Tuesday. No, both games had what we can only call “Signature Canucks 2017-18 Moments.” Those included bad giveaways, giving up greasy goals and fighting back right when you least expected. Both games had those things in spades.
So little separated the two efforts that, while not overly talented, one gets the feeling this team is ready to bring a consistent effort night after night. That’s just a symptom of being well-coached and having a relatively deep lineup. After all, Sam Gagner scored 52 points last year and he’s on the team’s fourth line. If a forward isn’t playing well, this team has options and Travis Green isn’t afraid to bench youngsters and veterans alike. It’s kind of awesome.
Some quick reviews of the two games:
Detroit 3 Vancouver 2
When you want info against a visiting team, it’s always worthwhile to consult a friend who happens to be a die-hard fan of said team.
One such friend advised us that the “Wings always start hot and fade away. They are terrible in the third period.”
This particular friend doesn’t have the beard to match, but she was looking like Gandalf the Grey for most of the game.
The Canucks held their own for most of the game, victimized by some sloppy defence (from Alex Biega and Michael Del Zotto in particular), but the Wings, true to Gandalf’s prediction, took an early lead four minutes in when Darren Helm scored a Darren Helm Goal (ugly rebound).
Then, in a second period in which the Canucks mostly held court, Martin Frk (defying any notions of rational surname construction) scored a powerplay goal late.
Yes, the Canucks being down 2-0 at the start of the third to a team that has freaking Martin Frk on the powerplay was not a good look.
The Sedins, who were up around 16-17 minutes of ice time in this one for the first time in awhile, were able to generate a goal after some nice passing. Thomas Vanek got an assist. He also almost had another point when he couldn’t squeeze it past Jimmy Howard’s short side after a giveaway. You’d think he’d be motivated against his former team. Then again, the journeyman plays about a quarter of his games against former teams.
Michael Del Zotto would make up for defensive miscues as he capitalized on a filthy Bo Horvat pass. Gandalf was getting greyer.
However, true to form, the Red Wings would strike back after a very questionable non-call on an offside. Travis Green couldn’t challenge the ruling because he had already used his challenge asking for a goaltender interference call on Detroit’s first goal. Can’t really fault the coach, but it wasn’t goaltender interference.
After the goal (from Tomas Tatar), Canucks fans started leaving with 1:14 left in the third. Yeah, seriously. Come on Canucks fans. No, they didn’t tie it up. But still.
Vancouver 5 Calgary 3
Another game against Calgary, another contest in which the Canucks were largely outplayed for most of the contest.
This time, however, Vancouver was able to squeak out the win. And, as reporters were quick to note, that alone is something that was sorely missing under Willie Desjardins last year. This team has the ability to get clutch goals through skaters like Sam Gagner and Thomas Vanek who can suddenly get hot.
Almost all of the credit for this one has to go to Jacob Markstrom though, who kept the team in the game despite playing his second game in as many nights (something that hardly ever happens in the NHL anymore).
The Flames outshot the Canucks 32-21 and were it not for a Bad Mike Smith sighting (the goaltender has been mostly good this year, which is a surprise), the Canucks probably would have lost two in a row. As it stands, it was a nice win against a division rival, but one that depended on a goal going in off Derek Dorsett’s leg. Probably not sustainable.